Besties. You think I'm not going to watch a movie called Besties?
YOU DON'T KNOW ME.
Quick Plot: Sandy is an awkward 14 year old obsessed with her sexy older neighbor and former babysitter Ashley. When her dad (Corin Nemec!) goes away for the weekend, Sandy lets Ashley throw one of those terrible Mike's Hard Lemonade catered high school parties that quickly ends with the cops showing up to lazily investigate a noise complaint.
After Ashley flirts her way out of a police report, her paroled ex-boyfriend Justin shows up and begins to put the statutory rape-y moves on a smitten Sandy. Before you can check what's on Lifetime, Sandy and Ashley are bashing the fella over the head with a frying pan...to death.
There are worse ways to go, but then again, there are a whole lot better means, too. This is what happens when you turn down your only real friend’s invitation to try out her new panini maker.
The girls move into action, dumping Justin's body a few miles away but forgetting that his car is parked right in front of Sandy's house. Clearly, these young ladies have not been watching nearly enough Pretty Little Liars.
Besties is an odd little indie written and directed by frequent Gotham contributor Rebecca Perry Cutter. Less a Lifetime flick and more a lighter spin on thirteen, it's an incredibly uncomfortable, often awkward look at what it means to be a 14 year old girl (spoiler alert: it sucks). In that respect, it's actually kind of strong. As Sandy, Olivia Crocicchia is not the kid sister you want. She's quiet and shy, snippy to her actual friend and creepy to her obsession. As I've said before with #Horror and The Sisterhood of the Night, no woman is at her best in middle school.
Likewise, Madison Riley's Ashley isn't necessarily a heartless mean girl, but more an ambitious teenager who has learned how to leverage her looks to overcome a less than ideal home life. As a character study of two very different, but very real teenage girls, Besties offers some genuine insight.
On the other hand, as a murder coverup, it has some issues.
Besties isn't a particularly well-plotted film. The very idea that these girls MURDERED A MAN is ultimately treated with the same weight as that time Kelly and Brenda wore the same dress to the Spring Fling. The pacing is odd, the investigation is barely humored as actually happening, and the film leaves the story in a place that is supposed to be a moment of victory with hints of a cliffhanger, but that felt more like you drove to the top of a mountain and suddenly your car disappeared and you have no idea where you were planning on going anyway.
It's not the most beautifully written analogy, but I'm trying to channel my inner 14 year old.
It doesn't make for pleasant viewing, but Besties really does find that horribly uncomfortable tone that is the life of middle schoolers
I mean, they kill a dude. But that's neither here nor there
Nobody misses gross people
Showers wash off DNA and stuff
Nothing celebrates turning 15 better than a murder confession and bouncy house
Everyone needs to learn how to take a compliment*
*Note: just because something is said by a jailbait hunting ex-con does not make it fantastic wisdom to bestow upon an insecure teenage girl
Crocicchia also had a small part in a Lifetime better-than-it-should-have-been thriller called, quite magically, I Killed My BFF. What pleases me most about this is imagining Ms. Crocicchia 50 years from now explaining to her grandchildren what the titles of all these films meant
Legally Required Bratz Reference
Because any opportunity to discuss Bratz: The Movie is one that must be taken by this blog, I’d like to inform you that Madison Riley played “Trendy Girl.”
Resume non-Bratz: The Movie talk now.
Much like the very different, but somewhat thematically similar #Horror, I wouldn't recommend Besties to most readers. Aside from the fact that it doesn't really have anything to do with the genre I usually cover, it's also a rather awkward film about incredibly awkward people doing very awkward things (awkwardly). That being said, I myself have a very odd affection for films that tackle female tweenhood, and Besties certainly goes there full force. Those who are curious can find it on Amazon Prime. Those who aren't should remember that seriously, it's REALLY HARD TO BE 14.